Series review: Les indociles
- Directed by Delphine Lehericey, the series takes us to the heart of Jura, Switzerland’s most rebellious canton, whose disobedient and idealistic inhabitants aren’t afraid of anything
Presented in a world premiere at the Geneva International Film Festival (GIFF) before being broadcast from 8 November on RTS and Play Suisse, the 5-episode series Les indociles, created by Joanne Giger, Camille Rebetez and Delphine Lehericey, is based on Camille Rebetez and Pitch Comment’s comic book of the same name. The events covered in this series are well-known to the Swiss, who are all too familiar with the rebellious leanings of the youngest canton, but the revolutionary wind which has always swept through the region might come as a surprise to those beyond the country’s borders. Led by Lulu (Marinel Mittempergher and Thomas Blanchard), Joe (Arcadi Radeff and Thibaut Evrard) and Chiara (Fortinì Peluso and Maya Sansa), three firm friends who share a deep desire for freedom, the story told in the series unfolds over the course of forty years (between 1973 and 2006), charting dizzying highs and spiralling declines into the vortex of drugs. Refusing to renounce their ideals, despite the narrow mindedness of many of their fellow villagers, the three friends create a decidedly avant-garde communal space within the “farm of the unruly” (the famous “indociles”), an oasis of tolerance encircled by an ocean of obligations.
Although Switzerland, and Jura in particular, aren’t internationally known for being epicentres of hippy ideology, they’ve definitely had their share of it. Living a life of total and utter freedom without being subjected to suffocating and sterile, petty bourgeois rules, has certainly been easier for people lucky enough to find themselves in capital cities like Paris or Amsterdam, but the protagonists in this series nonetheless manage to bring their own utopia into play. And this really is their reality, which is harder but also, arguably, more inspiring than Delphine Lehericey has actually portrayed it to be.
What the series explores, over and above Chiara, Lulu and Joe’s adventures, is the shattering of hippy ideals as they gradually give way to the desperation caused by hard drugs. Chiara can’t resist heroine’s call, so Lulu decides to tackle the situation head-on, creating a shelter for drug addicts within the farm of the unruly. Their approach revolves around talking and non-judgemental attitudes towards this addiction, which is incredibly difficult to escape, which fits with the position Switzerland has always adopted as a forerunner in managing addiction-related problems.
Precise in its reconstruction (via decors, costumes, accessories) of an era which seems to come to life before our very eyes, the series succeeds in its aim to make a local event which is only really known to people in Switzerland, universal and comprehensible for all. Because young people’s worries, the need for freedom, the revolutionary power of the Seventies, and the birth of “alternative” families who defy the (hetero)patriarchal nucleus which still dominates today, are all issues affecting countries far beyond Swiss borders.
Les indociles is definitely a challenge, but it’s a challenge worth taking up in order to encourage debate on pressing themes such as addiction and the need to break with pre-defined patterns which are more destructive than reassuring. With its unashamedly Swiss sense of humour, the series manages to make us think without ever morphing into a tedious treatise.
(Translated from Italian)
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